Friday, February 4, 2011

Forget the Official Unemployment Numbers

There are so many adjustments (e.g., seasonal adjustments) and exclusions ("discouraged workers") from the official headline unemployment number.

It is really better to look at the percentage of the population that IS actually employed and then examine wage distributions across employment sectors and the distribution of employed workers across those sectors.

Civilian Employment Population Ratio
http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/EMRATIO

This chart demonstrates that the percentage of Americans employed in the civilian workforce is at the level of the early 1980s. For anyone who has forgotten, that was a recession. Additionally, relatively few women sought employment at that time compared to today.

What this chart demonstrates is that total unemployment is much higher than the headline statistic.

There have been many pronouncements recently about job growth. However, the government's own numbers on job growth indicate that most growth has been in low wage service sector positions. I've posted on this phenomenon previously.

The recession, as experienced by most Americans, is really an ONGOING DEPRESSION.

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